Lanka leads region in 4G
*Dialog’s ultra-fast 4G Network launched
*City’s key zones covered first
Dialog Axiata Group CEO Dr Hans Wijayasuriya expressed confidence
that Sri Lanka would lead the South Asian region in 4G technology within
the next two years. “All telecommunication providers would agree that
the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka has been
proactive in introducing new technologies. As a result, Sri Lankan
mobile operators were the first to introduce 3G Network in South Asia
taking the move forward, Sri Lanka would pioneer in the region in 4G
technology within the next two years,” Dr Wijayasuriya told Daily News
The Dialog Group CEO made these comments after launching the 4th
Generation Long-Term Evolution (LTE) pilot network at its Darley Road
office on Saturday, which also made Colombo the first LTE enabled city
in South Asia.
Dr Wijayasuriya said the development of the ICT sector was not laid
only by the operator. “The Government policy and the progressive
attitude of the TRCSL also play a vital role in ensuring that Sri Lanka
is well ahead in the region,” he said.
LTE technology would be the next generation of mobile broadband
technology and what we have seen over the last few years is that
successive generations of technology have come in quite fast. The
lifetime of each technology being introduced is shrinking and is being
replaced by newer versions. Although it took ten years for the 2G to be
surpassed by the 3G, it will be only three to four years between 3G and
4G, he said.
4G brings higher speed than 3G, however, the 4G technology is still
at an early stage worldwide. The terminals, be it dongles, laptops or
inbuilt devices such as tablets, laptops or computers, these are inbuilt
components and are still expensive. I would say that the availability,
compatibility and affordability of the device would determine how fast
LTE would become mainstream, he said.
Dialog has commenced it as a pilot project within five zones within
the city of Colombo- Fort, Slave Island, Colpetty, Bambalapitiya and
Narahenpita. “We have deployed over ten base stations as we have
coverage in the Colombo city, but though it is not continuous, but
outdoor coverage gives a speed of between 30 and 50 megabytes and we
have tested it in the streets of these zones,” he said.
Responding to a question as to how Dialog Axiata would aim to
strategize its 4G network expansion, he said that the company would move
into commercial operation gradually when the devices are available.
There is no point in proceeding with the 4G expansion roll out plan
until the devices are ready and affordable. But Dialog would also
proceed with the expansion of the 3G coverage simultaneously. The 3G
network is expanding and has over 1,000 base stations and the total
number of base stations round the country is over 2,200 across the
However, there are the special environments such as the indoor
environments which demonstrate that the capacity could rise to even
100-120 megabytes. The 4G coverage could be developed in the same manner
as the 3G coverage which tested in 2004 with the late Sir Arthur C.
Clarke which was launched in 2006, it also became the first 3G coverage
in South Asia and is delivering 42 Megabytes per second.
Asked whether he sees the demand for mobile phone games increasing,
he said that it would take time. “Some of the applications that we
showed was to demonstrate the options of the network, but it would take
some time to make it affordable,” he said.
Network expansion for the mobile phones is almost complete with 93
percent of the landmass of the country covered. “Almost the entire
population of Sri Lanka is covered but there are a few remote areas
accounting for 7 percent and that too would be covered by mid 2012,” he